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App Store Optimization (ASO): Tips, Tricks, and Useful Tools

Marketing & Monetization
App Store Optimization

Mobile app marketing is among the most important steps of work if your goal is to develop a successful product. To return your investments, you have to make an effort and tell as many potential users as possible about your app.

You can promote it both by buying paid ads and by attracting organic traffic. In this article, we will talk about ASO — app store optimization to increase organic installs in the App Store and Google Play.

What is ASO and Why You Need to Use It

We can define this term as follows:

App Store Optimization (ASO) is a set of measures taken to optimize a mobile app and aimed at increasing its visibility in organic search, as well as at boosting the number of its installations.

These are ASO key benefits:

  • the possibility to make your app more visible;
  • increasing the conversion rate of views into downloads;
  • increasing free downloads from organic search;
  • reducing the cost of user attraction;
  • increasing product/developer brand awareness;
  • attracting high LTV customers and loyalty audience;
  • higher retention rate as compared to paid advertising;
  • competitive growth in the market.
App Ranking Factors in App Store and Google Play

You have to comprehend that it is necessary to combine ASO with paid traffic and other marketing channels in markets and niches showing high competition rates. Everything is interconnected. Consequently, the more people download your mobile app from ads and other sources, the higher its positions in organic search will be.

Almost all types of apps require basic optimization. If you skip ASO completely, users will not find your product by relevant queries, but they will find and install your competitors’ products.

You can only do without this in case you are developing an app for internal use.

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The 8-Step Practical Guide to App Store Optimization (ASO Checklist)

If we focus on the main aspects of app page optimization, providing 90% (or even more) of the result, we will get a fairly short list. However, each of these points is important.

1. Semantic Core

This definition means a list of keywords that potential users can utilize to search for an app similar to yours. The answers to the following questions will help you with this:

  • What are your product’s main features?
  • What words/phrases can users enter when searching for such an app?
  • What synonyms or alternative queries can you think of to replace them?
  • What terms do people usually use in this niche?
  • What keywords do competitors use, describing their products?
Keywords for Mobile App Promotion

ASO keyword research is an ongoing process. Therefore, it is not worth spending too much time on it at the beginning.

2. App Name

The app name can be unique and simultaneously include a reasonable number of keywords important to you. That is a simple example:

Mobile App naming

Never try to copy competitors’ names, as, by doing so, you will just find yourselves lost among other clone apps. Besides, you have to be careful about using keywords in your app name to keep it compelling.

3. Subheading (short description)

If necessary, you can easily embed keywords in the short description (subheading) and make them look as organic as possible. iOS limits the description to 30 characters, and Android to 80 characters. You can shape it as a call to action.

4. Application Icon

This is the first and most noticeable element that your users will see. Therefore, you should pay special attention to creating your app icon. You do not have to make it bright, but it definitely has to be visible and comprehensible.

Your mobile app icon should stand out. If it does, you will be able to attract your target audience’s attention even at the point when they choose an app from the query search results.

5. Detailed App Description

Its main purpose is to “sell” your mobile app to users. To achieve this objective, you should explain to your target audience why they want to download your product, how it will be useful for them, and what its main features are. The description text is a good measure taken to clearly position your app and talk about its concept.

ASO - Mobile App Description

From the perspective of ASO, you have to keep in mind that Google Play takes into account the keywords used in your app description when it ranks your app in organic search.

6. Screenshots and Video

As soon as users get to your product page in Google Play or App Store, you will have to convince them to download your mobile app. Visual representation plays an important role in this effort. Namely, your app screenshots and operation videos show your app’s or game’s features and functionality. This is as important as a poster and a trailer for a movie.

ASO - screenshots and video optimization

Actually, most users make their download decisions based on their first impression. Therefore, your visuals should provide a clear idea of ​​what your app looks like, show how it works, and highlight its value and key capabilities.

7. Reviews and Ratings

Users often read other people’s reviews, pay attention to the app’s rating, and make the decision to install it or not based on both reviews and ratings. Consequently, a good rating and a great number of reviews affect both search positions and the conversion rate of views and installations.

To get some helpful clues on this topic, please read our article: “How to Gain and Improve App Store Ratings and Reviews.”

8. Backlinks

Apple’s algorithms ignore backlinks to your app page, but they affect your app’s position in Google Play. In any case, this feature is quite useful as it increases your brand awareness, and if such a link leads to your app from a popular website, it can increase the number of downloads as well.

If you analyze a page of any popular mobile app, you will see that it has dozens or even hundreds of links leading to it. This growth may be fully organic, but it will be better if you start working on your backlinks systematically from the very start.

Backlinks to Mobile App Page in Google Play

Want to start a project?

Our team is ready to implement your ideas. Contact us now to discuss your roadmap!

Best App Store Optimization Tools in 2020

Besides the built-in analytics tools provided by Google and Apple available to app developers, various third-party services also offer useful advanced capabilities.

I recommend you to pay attention to the following tools:

  • AppAnnie. That is a platform aimed at managing the entire app lifecycle. It allows you to track statistics on downloads, see user interactions, find out app query positions, compare your app with competitors, analyze advertising campaigns’ efficiency, etc.
  • Appsflyer. This service specializes in marketing analytics and mobile attribution. This powerful tool provides rich conversion data on your mobile app. Therefore, it is especially beneficial for companies focused on engaging users by using paid channels.
  • SplitMetrics. This analytics system focuses on A/B testing functionality. Such features as scrolling maps, video metrics, statistics of views and screenshots, and other useful functions are available.

You can find many other ASO tools either with broad or more specific functionality. I recommend you to start with the ones listed above, and then, you will eventually know whether you need something else.


App Store and Google Play mobile app pages should attract user attention, arouse interest, and involve users in further interaction.

App Store Optimization (ASO) helps you both make your app page attractive to users and improve its visibility in organic search. However, you have to comprehend that this process should be constant and iterative, based on regular work and experiments but not a one-time activity.

This approach will eventually pay off. Therefore, we recommend all mobile app owners to make an effort and bring their products to the attention of as many people as possible.

If you need a team to develop your product, please contact us, and we will answer all your questions.

November 26, 2020

Head of Marketing at Lvivity. Overall 10 years experience in online marketing, content strategy, and SEO.

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